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Film students win chance to use latest cameras

(Shanghai Daily)

08:35, July 19, 2013

Chinese film students rarely get a chance to work with the most advanced motion picture cameras because they are so costly, but a film competition lets them make their films with the latest equipment.

The video contest "BRAiN iT ON!" targets China's major film colleges and aims to inject new blood into China's film industry and nurture the best young talent, teaching them more about modern cinematography.

The inaugural competition is sponsored by Jebsen Industrial, a major Hong Kong-based distributor of high-quality cinematic equipment for Asia. Jebsen & Co was established in 1895 in Hong Kong by Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen from what is now Denmark.

Five finalist teams, out of 17 competitors from around China, have been chosen to make their short films with state-of-the-art equipment such as the Schneider Cine-Xenar III, Angenieux Optimo DP, and ARRI ALEXA. All teams submitted pitches and storyboards.

The awards ceremony will be held next month in Beijing.

"The ARRI ALEXA is a dream digital camera for every film directing student," says Xiao Zhongzhao, a post-graduate in film directing at the Shanghai Theater Academy. "It generates natural color and an organic look and feel of film. I have never felt so close to the process of professional filmmaking."

Xiao and his team are among the five finalists. Their aim is to shoot a seven-minute live-action work about the adventures in the Orient of three foreign brothers.

The ARRI ALEXA was used in the filming of Ang Lee's 3D fantasy adventure film "Life of Pi" and the new James Bond film "Skyfall."

Company experts and engineers will give the students training in cinematography.

"We have gained a lot of first-hand practical experience over the past few days," says Pan Jiahui, a classmate of Xiao. "Film production can be very costly. But this time we can concentrate on the creativity with a wide range of technical support."

According to Anson Yang, general manager of the Engineering and Technology Division of Jebsen Industrial, the BRAiN iT On! video competition will become a long-term project to discover and foster Chinese film talent.

"Despite the influx of Hollywood blockbusters, China's film industry has been thriving," says Yang, "However, research shows a big gap in the industry in terms of the talent pool." He calls the competition a win-win approach since top films will be used as a promotional video for the company's public events. They will be posted on

Sha Yang, a teacher at the Shanghai Theater Academy, says film school students are in urgent need of more practical and experimental shooting opportunities to learn every step of filmmaking.

"In addition to mastering technology, they need to demonstrate their originality in storytelling," Sha says.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

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